Birmingham, Ala. There’s nothing sweeter than revenge, especially on the biggest stage.
While many college basketball fans watched Alabama and Maryland battle it out for a spot in the Sweet 16, Charles Bediaco was having his own personal competition against Maryland’s Julian Reese. With Bediako representing IMG Academy and Reese representing Champion St. Frances Academy, the Maryland forward put up one of his better games of 2020 against Canada.
Three years later, Bediako got the better of Reese as the Crimson Tide cruised to a 73–51 victory over the Terrapins to clinch their ticket to the Sweet 16.
“It was kind of a personal game for me,” Bediaco said. “I played him in high school and his team got the best of my team. I played well but they got the win. … I can’t remember but I’m pretty sure we lost by 11 so seeing him today I Said ‘well this is a little revenge game.’ I am glad we came out on a positive end to it.
The jovial Bediaco was a bit more serious than usual before the game and that pent-up aggression reached a new height when Reese opened the scoring 40 seconds into the game.
Nimari Burnett said, “I saw it in his eyes, it was like ‘No, this is never going to happen again. ‘” “Charles can get into that mindset. He can literally take out an opponent. It’s exciting to see him anchor our defense throughout the season, especially this time of year.
Reese and Bediaco clashed throughout the night, with the two talking a little trash to each other after battling for rebounds. The height of the mouthing off reached its peak when the 7-footer unleashed his best Dennis Rodman effect, tossing the ball twice high in the air and eventually stripping Reese, drawing an offensive foul.
Bediaco raised four fingers, counting how many fouls the Maryland forward had committed in the game, caused by winking and by Reese pleading his case to the official.
The idea of Bediaco trash-talking brought a smile to the face of Burnett, who was on the receiving end of a few center jokes during practice.
Burnett said, “He says the little things that if you don’t hear it, it’s on you, but that’s how he feels.” “Whether they hear it or not or we hear it or not, you can see it on his face when he gets those stops.”
While Bediaco showed his average streak while holding Reese to 14 points and two rebounds, accepting the mantle as Alabama’s rim protector was a process for him. His gentle giant demeanor off the court doesn’t mix with the snoring of a rim guard, but Jahvon Queenrly is one of those teammates who is constantly forcing him to be a little meaner on the floor.
“I love the kind of person he is but there are times I tell him, ‘Brother you’re too good. You gotta be mean sometimes,'” Quinerly said. “I’m really happy for him. am. I’ve seen him really develop and he’s been great for us.”
Bediako’s fluke turned out to be the push Alabama needed to wear down a physical Maryland team. After recording his third double-double of the season, Alabama head coach Nate Oates expects him to pack his “Angry Chuck” persona when the team travels to Louisville.
“He’s very soft-spoken,” Oates said. “But the whole angry Chuck deal is very true. He has a side of him that comes out when we need him to come out. Part of his offensive rebounding is his aggressive and hard-to-play punishing switches. He plays them guard. He takes them on He gets them on the big one too.